EMPLOYMENT AND MARRIAGE: PATHWAYS OFF OF WELFARE?
Roberts, Tracy Elizabeth
Martin, Steven P
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Does the way women exit welfare affect their probability of returning to welfare? Using data drawn from the 1979 - 2000 National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth, I examine the effect of marital and employment transitions on recidivism rates. I find that women who combine employment and marriage after exiting welfare, in that order, have significantly lower risks of recidivism than other women. Women who marry but do not enter employment have higher recidivism rates than women who combine employment and marriage, but they are less likely to return to welfare than women who are only employed. The data suggest that simply encouraging marriage or women's employment may not reduce welfare recidivism. The best policy strategy to reduce welfare dependence and encourage healthy marriages may be to strengthen work support programs and improve the circumstances of employment (and opportunities for strong marriages) for low-income men and women.